Dynamic EFI

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Introduction to Tuning, Part 1

Preface:

This paper is an introduction to the mechanics of tuning. It covers how to make changes to the tune along with implementing these changes in the EBL Flash ECM. What it does not do is to tell you what changes to make and why. Once you go through this page please see Part 2 of the Introduction to Tuning series.

The EBL Flash system allows the user to easily make changes to the tune and try them out. Although similar to the ODB1 GM systems there are differences. When tuning ECM's the calibration parameters are in a file that is sometimes referred to as a BIN. The term BIN being short for binary. Since the calibration data is in a binary format an editor is required for us, the tuner, to see the data in a format that we can understand. For the editor to display the data in a format we can understand a definition file is required. The formats of these definition files can vary according to the editor being used.

Some editors along with the type of definition file used:

Promedit and WinBIN use an ECU definition file
Tuner Pro uses an XDF definition file. Can also import ECU definition files

Note that both an ECU and an XDF file are supplied with the EBL systems. Along with a document that describes the calibration parameters available to the user.


The TunerPro Editor:

Tuner Pro is an editor developed by Mark M. It may be freely downloaded directly from his site: http://www.tunerpro.net

Once TunerPro has been installed the opening screen will look like the following picture. Note that there is no BIN or XDF selected.

Initial Screen for TunerPro


The first thing to do is to read in the XDF file. To do this click on the XDF entry of the menu bar and then Select XDF... Navigate to the folder with the EBL files and click on the XDF entry. The name of the XDF file will vary according to which product you have.

For the EBL Flash:

EBL_V31.XDF

There are two for the EBL P4 Flash:

EBL_P4_V10.XDF                  this is the standard version
EBL_P4_V10_ADV.XDF        this is the advanced version with more entries

Note that the V31 and V10 are the version number of the XDF file. These can change in the future if a change is made to the XDF file.

If you used the default installation location here is where the XDF file(s) will be found:

C:\Program Files\Dynamic EFI\EBL Flash
-or-
C:\Program Files\Dynamic EFI\EBL P4 Flash

XDF Selection


The left side panes will now have parameter type selections in them. Clicking on the + sign will open that list of parameters. Double clicking on a parameter opens it for editing.

Parameter List


Select the calibration file (BIN) to edit. Navigate to the folder with the calibration files and select the one you want to edit. The default folder will be:

C:\Program Files\Dynamic EFI\EBL Flash\BINs
-or_
C:\Program Files\Dynamic EFI\EBL P4 Flash\Calibrations

BIN Selection


At this point the BIN (or calibration file) should be saved to another folder. This is to prevent over-writing the provided calibrations. During the EBL install a user folder was created. This is where the calibration should be saved:

C:\Program Files\Dynamic EFI\EBL Flash\User BINs
-or-
C:\Program Files\Dynamic EFI\EBL P4 Flash\User_Calibrations

TunerPro will remember the last opened calibration file and XDF file. So once this is done the next time you open Tuner Pro the same files will be opened with it.

Editing Calibration Parameters:


Once the XDF and BIN (calibration file) have been opened in TunerPro tuning may begin.

To edit an item in the calibration double click on the entry. This picture shows that the SA - Main Table entry was selected. TunerPro will display the contents of that table. You can move around the table entries with either a click of the mouse, or by using the arrow keys. Then type in a new value.

Table Display


Once the desired changes have been made click on the Commit Changes icon (the floppy disk looking icon on the upper left of the SA - Main SA window), then also save the BIN (File->Save Bin | ALT+F, S). When changes have been made and the BIN has not yet been saved, an asterisk (*) will be displayed next to the file name on the title bar. This is a reminder that there are changes that have not been saved. Note that if you made changes and don't want them saved, click on the red X icon.

The icons across the top are as follows (left to right): Commit Changes, Close Editor, Show Graph, Show Compare Data,  Show Compare Difference. Hovering over them with the mouse pointer will show a tool-tip, naming the function of that icon.

Commit Changes


Clicking on the Show Graph icon will bring up a graphical display of the table. In this picture a single point within the graph was then clicked on with the mouse. This is the point with the ball on it. You can also click and hold a point and drag the value higher or lower.

Grpah View

A few more tips about using the graphs:
Note that the way the graphing is done it tends to exaggerate. The graph low and high values of the Z axis are derived from the lowest and highest values in the table being graphed. See the above graph. The Z axis starts at zero (0) degrees and goes to 32.34 degrees. The maximum spark advance value is 90 degrees. If the Z axis was scaled from zero through 90 degrees the graph would be flatter.

This effect can be seen by dragging a single point to the minimum value and another point to the maximum value. See the following two pictures. One picture is with the Z axis of 45 degrees max, and the second at 90 degrees max. Same table values, different scaling of the Z axis. Just be sure to return the 'dragged' values to it's original value, or Cancel out of the table save.

Exaggerate 45 degrees

Exaggerate 90 degrees


Parameter Tree:

There are three different types of data in the Parameter Tree.

Scalars:

These are single values, such as a coolant temperature threshold, or a MPH value, or the base distributor timing value.

Flags:

These are on/off, yes/no type of values. Such as enabling individual malfunction codes, or whether there is a TCC or a stick transmission.

Tables:

These are for values that are in a table. Such as the SA Main table, BPC vs. Vacuum, or Idle Speeds.


With the EBL system the calibration values are set up in related groups. The first part of the entry name defines the group. This makes it easy to find the desired calibration parameters within the panes. Supplied with the EBL system is the EBL_Calibration.html document (view in any browser). The calibration entry names match those found in the calibration document.

Group are such as:

SA -
VE -
Closed Loop -
HiWay -
INJ -
etc...


Compare Feature:

Another feature of TunerPro is the ability to compare calibrations. The best part of being able to compare calibrations is that it provides the ability to copy & paste data between calibrations. This allows items such as entire SA tables, VE tables, or any other calibration parameter to be easily moved from one calibration to another.

To set up for calibration comparisons select the Setup Compare Bins entry.

Compare Menu


This dialog will then be displayed.

Compare BIN selection

Click on the Browse button and navigate to the BIN(s) you want to compare or copy from and select it. You can set up to four different BINs to compare the main BIN to.

The BIN name will be shown on the title bar. Also note the asterisk following the regular BIN name. This signifies that changes have not yet been saved.

Showing compare BIN name in title bar


Use the Compare menu to select which of the four BINs to use in the compare.

Compare Menu BIN select


To copy & paste between calibrations select/highlight the data to be copied, then use the "Cpy Frm Cmpr" function. This is found in the table window Function drop down menu:

Function

 Data that has been selected for a copy is shown highlighted in light blue. Then click the Execute button.

Copy data


Once the data has been copied the data that has been copied value will be shown in red. Now click the Commit Changes icon and then follow up with a File->Save Bin | ALT+F, S. Note the asterisk to the left of the calibration parameter name on the title bar. This shows that data has been changed and is not yet committed.

Changed data


There are several ways to select the data to be copied:

The Table Functions:

This is a real handy feature. It allows the tuner to make broad changes to tables & values easily and quickly. The Function drop down menu allows several different types of operations.

Toolbox             


The Offset (+/-) allows the tuner to add or subtract a set value from all highlighted entries of a table or to a single value (constant). To add 2 degrees of spark timing across the board select Offset (+/-), enter 2 in the Value box, highlight (click upper left of table) the entire (or even just part of) the SA table. Then click Execute. To subtract a set value place a minus sign (-) in front of the value (such as -2).  Here is the result of the add.

Adding SA


Now, we don't always want to add (or subtract) a set amount. There are times when a percentage of change is required. Use the Multiply function for this. Here is an example showing how to reduce the TPS AE PW by 15% (across the board). Simply highlight the table entries and multiply by .85

Here are the before and after values.

AE before     AE after


Scalar parameters:

These parameters consist of a single entry. Can either enter data into the Value box via the keyboard. Or use the slider. The window shows compare data when a compare BIN is selected:

Scalar


Flag parameters:


Flags are an on/off, yes/no type of entry:

Flag


Conclusion, TunerPro:


There are other features available in TunerPro that the tuner may also utilize. There is a Hex Editor, data viewers, an item lister, a difference tool, BIN stacker, and an XDF editor (please don't edit the EBL XDF files). Once you become comfortable with the above features free free to try out the others.

In closing out the TunerPro portion of this introduction is a word about the table values. You will note that after changes have been made and the table saved then re-opened the values will not always be the same as when entered. This isn't anything to worry about. There are several reasons for the values to change. One reason is the lower and upper limits. During data entry nearly any value may be entered. Such as entering 200 degrees of spark advance.

When the table is saved this value of 200 will be limited by the equation used within the XDF file.

This equation is derived from how the ECM translates the data value. Most SA values in the ECM are stored as a number between 0 and 255. A conversion value of approximately 0.352 is used to convert the ECM value to a SA for the tuner/editor. Which limits the SA to a maximum of 90 degrees ( 90 / 256 = 0.352).

Which brings us to the second reason the values can change. With a conversion factor of 0.352 only values that are a multiple of 0.352 can be used. In the above example where 2 degrees is added to the Main SA table. After the table is saved then re-opened, the values of exactly 2 degrees will have been changed to 2.11 degrees. Which is an even multiple of six (6 * 0.352 = 2.11, approximately).



The EBL What's Up Display:

At this point the EBL Flash ECM should be installed in the vehicle. Connect the serial cable to the serial port on the ECM (RJ11 jack) and then to the laptop. If the laptop doesn't have a serial port a USB-to-serial adapter cable can be used. Turn on the ignition key and leave the engine off (no cranking). If all is well the 'spinner' in the upper right corner of the WUD will be rotating. This signifies that valid data is being received from the EBL system.

WUD showing com & spinner


If not, then check which COM port is selected and that it is shown as open on the WUD display (upper left). Can select a different port by clicking the File menu (ALT+F), and 'CommPort'.

Port Selection1


Once there is valid data arriving, press on the gas pedal. The TPS% gage on the WUD display will follow along with the gas pedal position. The CTS and IAT gages should show the proper temperatures. These can be changed to degrees F or C via the Preferences dialog (ALT+File, F).

Now move to the Flash display (ALT+D, F).

Flash selection


The Flash window has the information and selection of the calibration file (BIN) to be flashed. Can also use the Flash window to read a calibration out of the EBL ECM and save it to your PC/laptop.

Flash display1


The EBL Flash ECM system has flash memory on board to hold the calibration. By using flash memory no battery is required to retain the data. The ECM may be unplugged from the vehicle and placed on a garage shelf. Then plugged back in with it retaining the same data as when it was unplugged.

There are no chips to swap, no need for a PROM burner, and no need for an EPROM eraser. No little battery in the ECM.

The on board flash memory is updated, or 'flashed' via the What's Up Display (WUD). The WUD is a Windows program that is also used to data log, playback, observe, and analyze the information. A serial cable or USB cable (included) is used as the interface between the EBL system and the laptop. This same cable is used to write and read calibrations to and from the EBL system. It is an integrated package which makes it easy for the user.

The radio buttons along the top select which calibration bank to read or write.

Calibration bank selection


The Action radio buttons select whether to program or read/save a calibration. 

The boxes to the right of the Action box show the currently selected calibration files (the BINs). They will gray/activate when switching between Program and Read. To read a calibration click on the Read radio button. Then click the Select BIN button. You can type in a file name that the calibration will be saved to. 

Action


Then click on the Apply button. The Messages box will display the status of the operation. Try reading a calibration out of the ECM. Then flash it back in.

Apply


The most common error is forgetting to turn on the ignition before flashing the calibration. The second most common is forgetting to connect the serial (or USB) cable. Here is the error message when either of these occur.

Error message


The Options box allows the flashing to be verified (read back and compared) and the flashed-to bank to be made the active bank.

A verify is a good idea "just because."

The Set Bank Active ensures that the ECM will be running from the calibration that was just flashed. In general it is a good idea to round-robin through the calibration banks. This allows you to back up a tune if something was set incorrectly during editing of the last calibration.

Options




Data Logging:

Now to set up and test data logging. This is selected under the File -> DataLog... menu. A file dialog display will open.

Open data log


Enter a file name to save the data log to and click the Open button. Once this is done all incoming data will be written to that file. While the log file is open key-on, engine-off and press the gas pedal and release it.

Now close the data log and select Playback.

Close datalog

The main WUD display will show the throttle position (TPS%) increasing then decreasing as the gas pedal was depressed and released.


Calibration and Data Log File Names:

It is useful to use a filename that has trailing numbers in it. Such as Firebird_0001.bin and then Firebird_0001.dat for a data log of that calibration. You can also make the PromID in the calibration match the trailing number. This ties the files together and helps the tuner keep track of them. The PromID is displayed on all of the main screens of the WUD.

The VE Learn also uses the PromID and a trailing number in the calibration file name. The learn from calibration has the PromID incremented and set in the learn to (or new) calibration. It also uses the incremented PromID as the trailing number in the learn to calibration file name.


VE Learn:

The WUD has a powerful utility to automatically learn in the VE table values. With a standard narrow band (NB) O2 sensor all areas that the ECM runs in closed loop can be learned in. With a wide band (WB) O2 unit the entire VE table including WOT can be learned in. To set up for a VE Learn first go to the Preferences dialog (ALT+F, F).

preferences selection


Then within the Preferences dialog set the parameters for a VE Learn. The first picture shows a VE Learn from the standard NB O2 sensor. The second picture shows a VE Learn setup from an attached WB sensor unit:

 VE Learn NB
 VE Learn WB

Note that the NB VE Learn uses the BLM selection. While the WB VE Learn uses the WB selection along with setting the proper WB unit being used.

The Minimum and Maximum CTS values are set to bracket the standard operating range of the engine. The Smoothing Factor is an automatic smoothing of the VE table once the learning has been completed. A smaller value provides for a lower level of smoothing. Resist the urge to use high smoothing values. It can actually work against the learning of the values.


The WB unit used for the VE Learn is selected at the ADC Channels tab of the Preferences dialog as the Preferred WB:

ADC Channel Selection


Once the preferences are set up then select VE Learn from the File menu bar selection (File->VE Learn...):

VE Learn


At this point two file selection dialogs will open, one after the other. The first asks for the name of the calibration file (BIN) that the engine is currently running from:

Learn from selection


If a calibration is selected (not Canceled out), then another file dialog will open. This is to select the calibration file name to save the newly learned VE to:

VE Learn save to

Note that the WUD automatically increments the filename trailing numeric portion (_01299) by one and suggests it as the new Learn To filename (_01300). The WUD will also increment the PromID within the calibration to match. When back-to-back VE Learns are done the Select From dialog will remember the last Create New name and suggest that. This makes it easy for the tuner to move from one calibration to the next.

Here is the VE Learn display with an active learn along with data logging taking place:

active learn

On the left side the Learn VE is on, Learn From is from a WB unit. Logging is On, with the log file name shown above the PromId. The radio buttons on the right select what to show the tuner: the original BIN, the new Learned BIN, or the corrections in percent. The original "learn from" BIN values are currently being shown.


Here is a screen shot after a period of time in a VE Learn. This is from a playback of a log file. A VE Learn can be done while driving or from a log file.

VE Learn Display

This display is of the corrections to the VE table in percent. Once the VE Learn is stopped the new BIN file is ready to be flashed into the EBL Flash ECM.


There is additional information on data logging and and using the VE Learn functionality in the documentation on the included CD (see the EBL_WhatsUp.html document: "What's Up Display Help" in the Program Group).

There is also a document that describes the calibration parameters:  "Calibration Help in the Program group.

Conclusion:


The information on this page is intended to get a tuner started on how changes are made. Once you can make changes via an editor and program/update the calibration to the EBL Flash ECM half the battle is won. These steps are important as they lay the ground work for the actual tuning. The VE Learn was covered here as it is the first step to getting a new tune in line. As noted in the EBL_Information.html document, there are a few calibration parameters that need to be checked and possibly changed.

Included with the EBL Flash system is 30-some base calibrations for various vehicles. With the EBL P4 Flash system having 10+ base calibrations supplied.

Once the base calibration is selected and changes made for items such as larger injectors, a VRFPR, or different base timing, VE Learn sessions are the next step. Usually four to six VE Learns and the vehicle driveability is greatly increased. The engine just flat out runs better. This allows the owner/tuner to be able to drive the vehicle on a daily basis. At that time further attention can be paid toward WOT performance and fine tuning the vehicle driveability.



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